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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  January 30, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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>> good evening, from los angeles, and i am travis smiley. target date is sealed. his latest project is sure to add to his collection. marvin gaye, al green, a teddy tender grass and others -- the disk is called soul ii. >> every communi has a martin luther king boulevard. it is the cornerstone we all know. it is not just a street or boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stand together with your community. to make every day better. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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back: please welcome steeseal to this program. his featuring soul and r&b classics in his new project. here now or some of the truly iconic songs featured on the new disk from seal, soul ii. mother, there are too many of ukraine you cryingy of the ukrain brother, brother, there are far too many of you dying ♪ we have to find a way to bring
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some living here today let's stay together ♪ loving will you whether ♪ times are good or bad happy or sad gather state ♪ wishing on a star ♪ to follow where you are dreamwishing on a meansind out what it on all thewishing ramose i have seen ♪ i am wishing on the people i have seen
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♪ an them wishing to mar that it will come ♪ whenever you call made ♪ i will be there ♪ whenever you want me -- i'llew will be there be there tavis: you wanted some more? >> i did. first of all, it is due to be here. tavis: it is good to see you. >> i wanted some more, but why it is important for all of us was to not to be formulaic. we did not want to turn the whole thing into a formula. there was a reason for doing the first solo album, which i believe we talked about. album, which ilul
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believe we talked about. it was concerning what was going on at the time. it was the obama presidential campaign. it was the voice of america. that was the reason that i sang those songs, was inspired to make an album. with a "soul ii," what we were most conscious of was not cashing in on the success of "sold i." there had to be a reason that it was commercially successful. it had to be a reason that if he did so well. so we picked songs that were very personal to me, sounds like "wishing on a star," "love tk o." tavis: "teddy bear." [laughter] >> yes.
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piebald those songs as a teenager. i remember buying those -- i've got those songs as a teenager. i remember buying those songs. all of those songs were personal to me because i actually bought them. they pretty much inspired the way i think today. tavis: i wish i had time in this conversation to ask about every song on the cd. i want to go back to the peace that we saw on the show. we did snippets of certain songs. seal has brief commentary on every song that you saw him singing on that little sizzle real, if you will. let's pick up on some of them. the first song is "what's going on?" by marvin gaye.
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you said that is the one saw you do not want to do. >> my two biggest musical influences from a boat reported year -- the two things that are important to me are the song and the voice -- i did not want to do that song because marvin gaye, i refer to him as a tone king. he does not have to do a whole lot of vocal gymnastics. he can sing one note and his whole dna, everything you want to know about that beautiful soul is in that note. it was pretty much hallowed ground for me. and also, from a single point of view, i think it is a perfect soul, -- from a a pointed you, i think it is a perfect song, so why do it. hopefully, what you will notice
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when you listen to it is that it is my take on it. it is not just me changing it for the sake of changing it. i have a passionate reason for singing the song. therefore, i had to find a justification for doing "what's going on?" how do perfect on a perfect song made by arguably the greatest male voice in history? why not take the first serve at the song, take out the drums and make it purely orchestral. that was my justification. when you do that, you see, you do not change the song. you do not change the integrity of the song. but what to do is you make it even more lyrical and even more personal. trevor's reason for getting me to do that song is that he said it is perhaps more relevant now
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or socially just as much, just as important, just as relevant now as it was when the late marvin gaye originally wrote it and sang it. tavis: when you refer to it as a perfect song, this is one of those crazy the dates that those of us who are music lovers have all the time about to are the greatest songwriters and what are the greatest songs and who has the best tone and who has the best addiction. to my mind, and i have said this many times, i believe that "what's going on?" bayberry will be the best song ever written. that is a strange -- may very well be the best song ever written. that is a strange thing to say. when you say perfect, i guess that is it. >> by the way, we had this conversation as well, me and my
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buddy. there are two songs that come to mind. i think it really all depends on how you are as a person, though where -- where your priorities like, you're alkyl on live, what is important to you. i like to think of myself as a people person. i like to think of myself as a humanitarian. so songs that deal with people's issues, songs that speak directly to people, and songs that speak directly to a wide majority of people, songs that speak to the whole world -- to me, those songs, if they are delivered with the proper vehicle, i.t. the boys, those are the songs -- i.e. the voice, those are the songs that qualify
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for being a perfect song. that song and " imagine" by john lennon. they have realism as well as being idealistic. they're not just fluffy and so, what a wonderful, beautiful world is. let's get together and make it happy. they are delivered in a way that it is intravenous. it gets right to the very core of the listener. isd "what's going on?" conversational. it is so engaging. the very title of that song is like me sitting down with you and saying, tell us, what is going on? tavis: you can ask what is going on in the 1960's and today.
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>> i watched an interview with .anono someone was saying to them, you guys have been around for 27 years and you have successfully, over the years and decades, found a way of reinventing ourselves with these new ideas. but there are new bands now who are positioned to take your mantle. do you ever worry that he will run out of ideas or to keep reinventing yourself? and he looked at the camera with a wry smile. he said, you know, ideas come and go. but songs last forever and we have the songs. and i think that is very much the case when you talk about the time a suspect of what is -- the time a suspect of "what's going
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on?" and the timeless aspect of "imagine critical of those are songs that people will be -- of "imagine." those are the songs that people will be playing a hundred years from now. they are raw and speak to the masses. their conversational and they are relevant. they will always be relevant. tavis: the second song, "lets stay getter," i cannot imagine that you have seen this clip. enemy -- let me play this could for you now with the president of the united states some days ago. ♪ i' cheers and applause] ♪ and so in love with you
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[applause] tavis: the president of the united states, with al green in the audience, at the apollo, is riffing "let's stay together." >> i cannot think anyone who is more of a leader and more charismatic. it does not surprise me. tavis: it surprised me. [laughter] >> it does not surprise me he would give a crack at it what was surprising was how good he sounded. [laughter] it made me feel quite small actually, truth be told. i did not realize that his voice was that great. tavis: he held the note. >> yes. [laughter] he went after it appeared tavis: that is bold to do. that is let me singing one of
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your songs as you sit in the front row. [laughter] >> it is worse than that. he really went after it. honestly, like you, i think so highly of him. it made me listen to my version again. i started thinking, wow, did it sound as good? it is a good thing he did not actually do the whole cover. [laughter] tavis: what made you do this album? >> we collectively did not think that the album would be complete. one of the of the things we wanted to do was add variety. again, "let's stay together" is one of the songs i've voted on. an album has to read like a book.
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in my opinion, it does. it has to have a beginning, in milk, and an end. and "lists together" was one of have a- anit has to beginning, a middle, and an end. and "let's stay together" was one of those songs. talking about the things that i love the most about our profession, songs and voices, al green's voice, another songwriter, an incredible song writer. we could not leave that song out. tavis: there is never a good time to raise this question. "hit it and acquitted," i know that james brown is not on this cd. this album has a very romantic
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feel to it. i was thinking a moment ago bat you mention "love tko" and "love does not live here anymore." you and your wife have separated. this album has such a romantic view to it. >> it does. tavis: how do you stay focused on something like that when the relationship in your life is falling apart. >> first of all, you're one of the most respectful human beings that i have ever met. but to answer your question, in short, we have a tremendous amount of love and respect for each other. and also, of course, our children are our first priority.
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we pretty much said everything we needed to say in our statement, the one we release. but how does one stay focused? just because you decide to separate -- and i do not think you all of a sudden stop loving each other, you do not stop becoming friends, especially when there are other things to take into consideration, like family -- to be honest, it is not really that the difficult and it is really not that much of an issue. what one has to do in this situation is to remain civil and to retain one's dignity and to be professional and to understand that we're not the only people on this planet to go through this. it is just unfortunately a
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chapter of life. tavis: i take your point about ha keeping your dignity. not that you need to look to others for advice and counseling, but there have been so many ugly breakups in this town, so many ugly and better and protected separations and of course and mudslinging everywhere in this town. i take it the un high have seen things in this town that you do not want to emulate -- i take it that you and heidi have seen things in this town that you do not want to emulate. >> we have never been attracted to that. of course, it is a difficult situation that we have right now and it is never easy. but in terms of our love and respect for each other, that has not changed at tolall.
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yes, these are difficult times, but there is a lot to be positive. i think that, when two people feel that way about each other, it is easier to make that transition. tavis: i thank you for the complement that i try to be respectful. i do try. >> for people who do not know, you estimate. most people would not have the decency to ask me. you asked me beforehand whether i thought that you could go there. because i do trust you, because i have been on your show before, because i know you hold your integrity in the highest esteem, i felt comfortable with the asking that. tavis: thank you for even indulging. he did not have to do that. i want to move past that now. pass it, but connected to it. some of the best music i have ever heard have been written but
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artists when they had something to say because of the experience that they endured. i suspect you're no different than any other artist. do you think, down the road, that this would be the stuff for some great music? [laughter] >> it is a funny question you ask. tavis: you cannot keep doing covers forever. >> i remember -- who wasn't at a speaking to? i was speaking to someone once, a very wise person. i said -- we were talking about -- there is an old adage in our profession. tousing lose, you have to pay your dues. that is -- to same the blues, you have to pay your dues. that is true to a large extent.
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whenever i go into making an album, you almost subconsciously try to create a mood or tried to feel sadness or to feel -- or to be more emotional to sing songs that other people will find emotional. but, you know, i did learn, when i wrote my fourth album, which had "la bichon" on it -- had "love be gone" on it, he did not have to do that. you can actually write songs that to touch people when you're in a really happy state of mind. and those songs do not always have to be about whatever it is you are going through at the time.
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you can draw upon things that have happened to you very early on in your life or that you see happen to other people. so to answer your question and not skate around it, do i think this will make for great songs? i had not really given it any thought. but what i will say is that every note that i have sang in the last year, every song, even if it is not about my family, every performance i have given in the last eight years since meeting this beautiful woman and having these incredible gifts that she has given me has come from that place. it has always come from that place of having this incredible happiness in my life. so the next album of my right
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will be no different. whether they will be specifically -- [laughter] 9 answered question -- i doubt very much that will happen. but you're kind of damned if you do. you're damned if you don't. if icing something remotely resembling a love song, people will make -- if by saying something remotely resembling a love song, people will make a connection. there is another adage -- people have short-term memory is. i do not know whether or not people will be that bothered by it, especially the time it takes me to make albums. i doubt whether people will be that bothered and try to decipher exactly " i mean. tavis: something i have always liked about your music and about you, whatever you say, whether it is original score or covers,
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it is your authenticity. your voice always comes through. i am proud to have you on this program. >> we have not talk about football. tavis: we did not. i want to talk about football in the last minutes that we have. i did not know that you were a big football fan. how excited are you that brady is back >>? >> i think the biggest bane of coach butch hicke and tom brady is lives is that they came just short of doing something that nobody has done in the history of the nfl before. that is what they will be taking into that game. my money is on the patriots. tavis: my time with seal is up. this has been a pbs conversation. this guy has something to say about the pages, about their offense, about the giants, about
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eli manning. you can hear our conversation with sael about the super bowl. the new album from seal is called "soul ii." i love it and i think you will, too. i am glad to have you on the program. >> i am glad to be here. tavis: until next time, a key to the face. ♪ how does it feel? ♪ how does it feel? ♪ to be on your own? no direction home? tavis: for more information, visit travissmiley.org. tavis: join me for a preview of the florida primary next time.
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we will see you then. >> every community has a martin mr. king boulevard. it is the cornerstone we all know. it is not just a street or boulevard, but a place where one -- where walmart stands with your community. tavis: and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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